Thoughts about “self-esteem” and “self-care”

It drives us crazy how some people suggest to women who are experiencing abused that they should work on their “self-esteem” and that somehow, this should stop the abuse. It won’t. Nothing the woman does will stop the abuse. Only the abusive person can stop the abuse.

But even after separation some people think that “working on self esteem” is really important. This also seems kind of crazy to us. How on earth do you “work on your self-esteem”? How any of us feel about ourselves, at any given time, usually has to do with how we are being treated by other people. If the people around us are treating us like crap, we will probably feel like crap. Our self-esteem, at any given time, also has a lot to to do with whether our projects or ambitions are working out or not working out. Lots of times these things are out of our control so “working on your self-esteem” can feel like banging your head against the wall.

Instead of thinking about self-esteem, how about thinking about “self -care” – now that you can have some control over! If you are living with an abusive man, it is hard to take care of yourself but you can try to do one little thing – walk the dog, rest when you can, lock yourself in the bathroom for 2 minutes and breathe etc . If you are separated from your partner, there are probably quite a few things you can do to care for yourself — let yourself sleep in, eat when and what you want, have a hot bath.

So we think it’s really hard to “work on your self-esteem” but possible, maybe, to work on self-care. What do you think? Leave us a comment.

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